Famed author and humor columnist Dave Barry once wrote, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”
That pretty much matches the sentiment of Boardwalk Pizza owner Virgil Avanzado and his brew master Jake Mantz.
Through a Planning & Zoning Commission recommendation, followed by a Nov. 17 public hearing, the city of Ellisville council members voted unanimously to grant a liquor license and permission to open a microbrewery next to the restaurant at 15636 Manchester Road.
City Attorney George Restovich rattled off 19 different exhibits regarding the paperwork involved, starting with a certified copy of the municipal code and ending with the city planner’s memo, dated Nov. 11, 2021. In between were several items offered by those submitting the petition for changes and additions.
“I’m the architect working with Virgil on the renovation of his pizzeria, and expansion into the neighboring facility which will house a microbrewery, tasting room, additional restroom, some additional seating and a storage area,” Mantz said. “The renovation includes an upgrade to the existing Boardwalk Pizza and some interior upgrades for the customer seating area. It will continue to operate as it currently does, but with these additions we will be expanding into the vacant tenant space next door. I never heard so many exhibits, but this was just a very basic summary of all those exhibits Mr. Restovich mentioned.”
In response to Mayor Mike Roemerman’s questions, the brewing will be handled on site with Mantz utilizing his own recipes. He currently has design space for up to eight taps.
Council member Vince McGrath (District 1) inquired as to how this microbrewery would differ from most others.
Mantz answered that it’s going to be different from your normal, stand-alone microbrewery. They will not necessarily be catering to the regular beer enthusiasts, but are gearing toward beers that can easily be paired to the food Avanzado’s been serving. There will be light ales, lagers and maybe a couple darker nut-brown porters.
He added that they’ll have growlers that customers can buy, take home, and return them for refills at a reduced price. Mantz also mentioned having ‘crowlers,’ which he described as purchases in cans that are considered single serving sizes.
“I’ve done a little bit of research, and we’ll possibly be the smallest brewery in the United States,” Mantz said. “So, it will be very small and very specific.”
McGrath also asked if sales would cover their rent. Mantz said that they crushed the numbers. Based on the cost of brewery equipment, supplies, cleaning, the modest expansion (about 150 square feet for this segment) and great margins for beers brewed on the premise, they will do just fine. He added that they would be eliminating the middleman unlike bars that purchase beers from a distributor.
Looking at the pizzeria at 15638 Manchester, the microbrewery will be on the left side. Outside dining tables will be added inside the current walkway.
Speaking to Virgil, council member Mick Cahill (District 2) said, “Seeing you start the place up, and appreciate that you’re trying to grow it, I know you’ve done a great job. It’s a vacant spot next to you. So, you’ll be filling that spot and bringing some revenue into our city.”
Cahill subsequently made an amendment regarding expanding the areas in front of both addresses for the potential of covered outside seating for both addresses.